Dmonstrations Dmonstrations

[Strictly Amateur Films; 2004]

Styles: post-punk, indie rock
Others: Ex Models, Brainiac, The Mae Shi, Arab On Radar

This is the sound of too many years of social discomfort and sexual frustration catching up to you.

West Coast no-wave revivalists Dmonstrations ("3/4 of their former outfit, dance-punk sensationalists Dosage and Usage", I'm told) blaze through 8 fractured bursts of herky-jerky fury in less than 15 minutes. The sound is akin to Arab On Radar and Ex Models being swallowed whole by Bootsy Collins. Though drummer Aaron Wade may have the inability to hold a solid groove for more than two bars and guitarist/vocalist Tetsunori Tawaraya may wield one hell of a fragmented axe, bassist Nick Barrett manages to anchor the wayward ship with a propulsive, omnipresent low-end grumble.

A major qualm I have with this record -- well, at 13 minutes it's pretty much the only one I could put my finger on before the damn thing finished -- is what I call the "guessing game factor." Dmonstrations play a strain of music that's, to say the least, pretty well-worn territory. On their self-titled EP, the trio basically sound like a more naive, less urbane version of the aforementioned bands. Without putting much of themselves into the music, listeners are often left guessing which band Dmonstrations is imitating at each turn.

If there's any band Dmonstrations are out-right guilty of pilfering it's the late Brainiac. Dissonant chords supported by uncomfortable but still highly infectious rhythms -- yes it's all very challenging and intense. But the problem is Dmonstrations lack the freewheeling spontaneity and that keen sense that it could all self-destruct at any moment that characterized so many of Brainiac's records. Tawaraya's voice also bears a striking resemblance to Timmy Taylor on a number of tracks (most noticeably on the opening "Silencer"), convulsing and contorting his larynx in what could be construed as either heartfelt tribute or ignorant thievery. There's an unhinged quality on a few songs that suggest Ex Models ("Texture") and maybe even a less accomplished Melt-Banana ("Flying Saucer").

There's no getting around the fact that Dmonstrations sound like a product of their influences. But even so, the trio give off a startling, kinetic energy that can't be denied. Regardless, it would be nice to see the group put a little bit of themselves into the mix. An auspicious debut from a trio who need to move out of the herky-jerky ghetto.

1. Silencer
2. Texture
3. Shining
4. Dear Willy
5. Flying Saucer
6. Golden Bat
7. Blue
8. Cut